This new book about residential property management, “What Every Landlord Needs to Know” by Richard H. Jorgensen, is filled with more than 30 years of successful realty investing experiences. The author has never been sued by a tenant; that’s quite an accomplishment in today’s litigious society.

Before getting to the actual book review, although I’ve never met the author, I feel I know him quite well because I have reviewed all his previous real estate investment books.

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Quite by accident, I discovered his first book at a bookstore in downtown Minneapolis about 15 years ago. I read it and reviewed it favorably. Little did I know it was one of the few bookstores that carried the locally published book. As a result, Richard Jorgensen from Marshall, Minnesota has written many real estate investment books published by major publishers and he has inspired untold thousands of property investors.

But his latest book is a bit “disjointed.” Although the content is up to Jorgensen’s usual high standards, the book’s organization seems out of order. Instead of a first chapter or two about why investing in residential real estate can be so profitable, the book immediately launches into the topic of selecting high-quality tenants.

That topic is very important, but not for the first chapter. Instead, a quick review of why investing in residential real estate is worth the hassle of “tenants and toilets” would have been reassuring. The fact that tenant rents pay the mortgage payments and build the investor’s equity in the property would have been advantageous.

Don’t judge this unusual book until you have competed reading it. At first, I was really “turned off” by the book’s organization and focus. But as I got into it, I better understood the author’s direction. His many examples, plus those of his landlord friends, make the book especially relevant for residential rental property owners.

This is not a “how to get started and earn a fortune in real estate rental investment” book. Jorgensen’s other excellent books explain those topics. Instead, this book concentrates on managing the tenants and avoiding legal problems.

The book’s last chapter, “The Positive Aspects of Real Estate Investing,” should have been the first chapter. Although the primary emphasis of the book is on property management methods that work, some up-front enthusiasm for the benefits of owning residential rental properties would have made the book even better.

Overall, this is not Jorgensen’s best book about investing in small residential rental properties. But it provides profitable reading for its practical advice and many real-life examples of how to be successful and avoid property management problems.

Chapter topics include “Selecting High-Quality Tenants”; “Finding the Ideal Tenant”; “Screening Out the Most Undesirable Tenants”; “Discrimination Laws”; “Avoiding Rejection Lawsuits”; “The Legal System”; “The Rent Application”; “Understanding the Lease”; “Know and Understand the Benefits of a Credit Report”; “Repair, Replacement and Maintenance”; “Creeping Socialism in Real Estate”; “Insurance Coverage”; “Eviction and Collecting Past-Due Rent”; and “Moving Out and Rent Deposit.”

This very valuable new book is obviously written by an amateur writer who is a professional real estate investor. Bear that in mind as you profit from reading it. What makes the book especially enjoyable is the author’s practical, real-life advice. On my scale of one to 10, this excellent book rates a solid 10.

“What Every Landlord Needs to Know,” by Richard H. Jorgensen (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2004, $18.95, 209 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

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